I’ve been a fan of the Apple TV for quite a while now. I was a bit late to the game as I only picked up a third generation unit in 2013. The unit that I am replacing today has consistently beat out the “smart” functionality of my Samsung television.
TL;DR - The new Apple TV is very close to being the only device I have connectd to my television.
I had pre-ordered the new Apple TV thinking that it would arrive on my doorstep on launch day the way my past pre-order purchases from Apple did. That wasn’t the case as it showed up this afternoon, wrapped up in a plastic bag and tossed onto the inside of my back gate. Thanks FedEx.
The initial unboxing was pretty uneventful. It was a nice presentation but it certainly didn’t wow me. The unit itself was covered in layers of plastic stickers, I vaguely remember my last unit being the same way. Seems like a waste of packaging, but I’m sure they have a good reason for it.
Not being overly excited about the new unit, and it was simply replacing the last generation’s model, I waited a bit before hooking it up. Just a bit ago I unhooked my old unit, dusted a bit and hooked up the new unit.
Setup was a breeze with the exception of not being able to get the MAC address of the new unit to punch into my router during the setup wizard. Easy enough, disabled MAC filtering and proceeded. I did the setup via my iPad mini which knocked out a handful of the steps automatically.
I’ve since installed and configured some streaming apps, installed and played the obligatory game or two of Crossy Road and proceeded to gloat to my friends that are still waiting on their new Apply TV that I already got mine. Now on to what I am loving and hating about the new Apple TV.
- Loving the new remote as the old remote was always just a bit too minimal. The fact that I can turn my TV on and off with it means I will rarely use my television’s stock remote (which never played nice as the main remote for my old Apple TV).
- Liking the App Store but truly loving the fact that they now have games. I have been saying since the original Apply TV came out 8 years ago that Apple should (and probably will when they are ready) enter the console market and clean up, starting with casual gaming.
- Loving the search capabilities across multiple apps. Everyone hates pulling up Hulu only to realize what they wanted to watch is on Netflix. Doing it all by voice commands is just icing on the cake.
- Hating Amazon for not releasing (and probably never releasing) an Amazon Prime Video app for the Apple TV. I get it, everyone’s playing to win but I think Amazon not doing an app (or Apple not allowing them to) is going to be cited as one of the reasons Amazon Prime never truly took off. We rarely use Amazon Prime Video as it is on our smart TV as it is and will probably use it less now that we have to switch back to the TV to be able to get to it.
- Speaking of switching, even though the new Apple TV can switch my TV on and off (out of box, no additional intervention by me) it’s lacking the ability to simply switch sources or control the television outside of volume or power. Basically the same issue as before while forces us to keep two remotes around.
- And speaking of turning on the television. I’m unsure if it’s because of the HDMI-CEC stuff that I think is turning the television on and off, but the Apple TV seems to be slugging when coming out of sleep mode compared to the last unit. If nothing else, the light could turn on sooner to indicate that it‘s actually doing something instead of leaving me guessing.
- As previously mentioned, the packaging really didn’t wow me the way previous Apple products have in the past. I also thought that the stickers all over the unit seemed excessive but I am assuming had some purpose.
- Even though I didn’t find it to be very obvious, you can now have multiple iTunes accounts set up on your Apple TV. Seeing as we have three people in the house, each with their own account, this should come in handy. I suspect we’ll have to switch between accounts manually though and that will probably make it more of a pain than a pleasure.
- Entering passwords is still really hard. It’s better with the new remote, but definitely a chore when you’re trying to enter in a bajillion character password generated by your password manager, you really start to rethink the price of security.
- The lack of a USB port to plug the Lightning cable to charge the remote seemed a bit odd. Ideally I want all of that stuff as close together as possible. My television has USB so I plugged it into that. Maybe I’m overthinking this and everybody with a TV that supports HDMI also has a USB port or two.
As a previous Apple TV owner, I’m loving the new device. It’s a significantly improvement over the previous model and I think is the start of something revolutionary with television. Cutting the cord couldn’t be easier.